The great Manchester City summer player sale begins on 1 June when the transfer window opens and an XI headed by Carlos Tévez, Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko go on offer. They are up for grabs as Roberto Mancini attempts to ensure there is no repeat of last year's farrago when he wanted, but acquired none of, Eden Hazard, Javi Martínez, Robin van Persie, Daniel Agger and Daniele De Rossi.
Instead of a famous five of A-listers worth nearly £140m, the manager ended up with the cut-price quintet of Jack Rodwell (£15m), Javi García (£15.8m), Matija Nastasic (£12m plus Stefan Savic), Scott Sinclair (£6.2m) and Maicon (£4m) for £53m, of which £38m was splurged in a last day recruitment rush, with Rodwell bought earlier in the window.
Mancini has blamed this failure in the market for City's dismal Champions League campaign (they finished bottom of their group), and a stumbling championship defence that has appeared moribund since early February following the 3-1 capitulation at Southampton that left them 12 points behind Manchester United.
This time Mancini hopes to execute business more effectively by offloading players for funds which can be reinvested swiftly, rather than allowing the summer to drag.
The 11 whose futures could lay elsewhere are Tévez, Nasri, Dzeko, Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott, Kolo Touré, Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge, Sinclair, Maicon and John Guidetti. Aleksandar Kolarov could be the 12th man, though he has been as effective as any this term, so the Serb's case to be retained is strengthened.
Beyond the band who will definitely depart when their contracts end this close season – Santa Cruz, Touré and Bridge – are those with a year remaining: Lescott, Barry and Tévez; and a further gang whose form means Mancini may wish to move them on: Nasri, Maicon, Sinclair, and Dzeko, plus the unfortunate Guidetti, whose injury problems have stopped him from impressing the manager.
Tévez has stated he may return to Argentina to play when his current deal finishes, so the club have to decide whether to offer a contract extension, allow him to see out his last 12 months, or listen to offers. As the 29-year-old cost City £25m, Ferran Soriano, the new chief executive, would be reluctant to allow him to walk away for free, so the right offer would tempt the club.
The bell may also toll on Lescott's time at the Etihad. The central defender has gone from first choice in the FA Cup and title winning sides of 2011 and 2012 to fourth pick behind Nastasic, Vincent Kompany and Touré, when all are fit. Now 30, he is deemed unworthy of a place on the bench by Mancini, with Lescott finding even Touré, who nearly left the club last September for Galatasaray, ahead of him.
Barry can still consider himself a starter in Mancini's best side, though the sense is that if Rodwell can finally overcome his chronic hamstring problems, he may force himself into the line-up instead, alongside Yaya Touré in defensive midfield.
Dzeko's future at City has been tenuous since last summer. Mancini recently suggested he would be sold, with a return to the Bundesliga his potential destination.
This leaves Nasri. Bought from Arsenal two summers ago to join David Silva in the creative department, the Frenchman has been a serial disappointment. Mancini openly accepts there have been only flashes of his best play.
If Nasri departs, a playmaker can be added to the personnel Mancini will require. At the very least, the Italian would also need two central defenders (for Lescott and Kolo Touré), a defensive midfielder even if Barry remains, due to Rodwell's injury concerns, and two strikers – if one of Tévez or Dzeko leaves – as Mario Balotelli was sold in January.
If Mancini retains his job, which remains in the balance, he will join Sorriano and Txiki Begiristain, the new director of football, in assessing who to keep, who to cull, and who to buy.
It should be a busy summer. And when the new season starts, the defining factor in Mancini's own future at City.